As has previously been posted, Damien Sherman of Elsevier’s Scopus took exception when I suggested (at Michael Stephen’s Tame the Web) that Elsevier was behind on RSS because the product he works on, Scopus, does. Excited to see this, I asked if I could see Scopus' RSS features and feature them on my blog.
At my request, Damien promptly set up temporary access to Scopus so I could check out and review its RSS features here. It is appropriate to again thank Damien for this. This sort of open communication between vendors and libraryfolk serves the interests of both, and his willingness to do this will always positively color my perception of the Scopus team at Elsevier. Marketing, PR, and Sales: Please take note of this.
What follows is a very brief review only of Scopus’ RSS features.
After going to Scopus and painlessly logging in and setting up my account with the credentials Damien provided, I got straight to searching. As soon as I entered my search terms and clicked the ‘Search’ button…
…I was presented with the query used and the familiar orange RSS button.
I clicked on the RSS button to be brought to a screen where I can name my feed:
When I clicked the Continue button, I got my very long URL for the feed (cut off here both for display purposes and to obscure the actual URL).
Next, I subscribed to this feed in BlogLines to see how the results would look:
Things I like about Scopus RSS
- The RSS feature is well-integrated in the search results page, and easy to find.
- Naming of feeds makes them clear and unambiguous when they appear in the aggregator.
- The RSS URL is created quickly and easily.
Things I’d like to see Scopus RSS do next
- The RSS items should contain, if not the full abstract, at least a few lines of it. Now, all that shows up in the aggregator is the hyperlinked title and a one-line description of the source. More detail in the item would allow the user to do some filtering without having to go to Scopus. This would save the user’s time (Ranganathan's 4th law, anyone?).
- The RSS feed contains ONLY the Scopus results, not the web results. Ideally, the user should have the option of whether to do one of the two, or both.
- RSS feed URL produced should be a live hyperlink, not just text. This lets users with many kinds of subscription tools subscribe more easily.
- More user documentation about how Scopus RSS feeds will work is needed. It isn’t clear, for instance, how often the search that generates the feed will be executed. Perhaps the user could select from a menu how often he/she would like the search to be executed and new results generated for the feed.
- Change the RSS button to the proposed standard.
Summary: Scopus is off to a good start with their offering search results as RSS feeds and should be applauded for having them. However, from the perspective of someone working towards SDI goals, its RSS features are not yet caught up to PubMed in usefulness.
This was the first time I’ve tried Scopus. Perhaps a reader who is more familiar with its use might like to comment further on either its RSS features or other feature that especially stand out?